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ICED EARTH - The Glorius Burden


Offering up their usual bag of Euro-flavored power metal, American power metal heroes ICED EARTH have made their return with The Glorious Burden, a powerful new album wrapped in 9/11-influenced patriotism and first to feature new voice Tim “The Ripper” Owens. The album begins with an homage to America with an instrumental of the “Star-Spangled Banner”, followed by the none-too-subtle patriotic overtones of “Declaration Day” and “When the Eagle Cries;” the latter concerning the events of 9/11. Guitarist Jon Schaffer’s usual churn-and-burn riffs blaze with mighty metallic glory throughout this release, namely on “The Reckoning (Don’t Tread on Me)” and “Red Baron/Blue Max.” Seasoned ICED EARTH listeners, however, will probably not be able to shake a familiar feeling of deja vu (nor stomach the overt patriotism) even with Owens now belting out the words. The Glorious Burden seems to mirror 1998’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, with a reportoire of “one loud song, one soft song” alternating back and forth. Fortunately, some of the band’s best ballads are featured on this release, namely “Hollow Man” and the unplugged version of “When the Eagle Cries,” but they rely on familiar formulas that sound quite like ICED EARTH’s past work. There’s even a three-part trilogy of songs at the album’s end called “Gettysburg (1863)” that features the parts “The Devil to Pay,” “Hold at All Costs,” and “High Watermark” and extends a seriously long 32 minutes. While the theme of war is widely conceptualized in power metal, that it’s almost fitting that ICED EARTH have coupled that with post 9/11 patriotism. Although another familiar outing, no one can doubt these veterans’ ability to craft an excellent metal album. (SPV/Hunter)